“Can I walk on my roof?” It’s a simple question we get from plenty of homeowners who have received often-conflicting information. Some people may have been told it’s perfectly okay to walk around on their roof while others don’t think they should set foot on it ever. On this blog, we’ll clear up some of the misinformation about walking on your roof and set the record straight.
Avoid It If Possible
First things first, avoid having to walk or get on your roof at all if possible. Whether your roof is made of clay tiles, concrete, a composite material, or you have a commercial flat roof, the more you can keep foot traffic off your roof, the better off your roof is going to be. Foot traffic places a lot of stress on your roof, which can lead to cracks, weakened materials, shifting, and other issues that may result in further damage to your roof, especially during the next major rainfall.
Of course, this isn’t always an option. Sometimes you need to conduct a repair on something on your roof, such as a plumbing vent, or you need to repair flashing around your chimney that has worn out cracked, and become leaky. In these situations, you’ll need to venture out on your roof, so here are a few tips on how to do so correctly.
Concrete Tile Roofs
The overwhelming majority of residential roofs in the Phoenix area are built using concrete or clay tiles because of their durability, heat rejection ability, and popular southwest styling. While these tiles may seem extremely hard, the truth of the matter is they’re prone to shattering, and they could slip and become loose, which creates gaps that could cause all sorts of damage.
It is possible to walk on these tiles, however, and while we still don’t advise it, here’s how to do so with the least amount of risk:
- Wear soft-soled shoes with good grip. Don’t wear anything too hard on the bottoms or anything that may be worn out or slippery. Roof slopes are no joke, and a single slip could result in serious injury. Make sure you’re as safe as possible first and foremost.
- Walk on the balls of your feet: Always face forward towards your roof slope and keep your weight forward for stability. Evenly distribute your weight and transfer it gently between your feet.
- Step on the peaks of tiles: Concrete tiles are usually curved by design. Curved tiles are known as “peaks” while the area between the uplifted curves are known as “valleys.” Always place your feet on the peaks, never in the valleys in order to prevent tiles from slipping or breaking.
- Never step on the hip or ridge tiles (the tiles along the high points of your roof where two planes intersect), tiles in roof valleys (the low-points on your roof where two planes intersect) or tiles along the rake (the rounded edges of your roof). These are specially-designed to withstand the abuse of their position, and you do not want to disturb them.
If you own a commercial building or your home has a flat roof, your situation is a little bit different. Certainly this lack of slope means your roof is more durable and capable of withstanding more foot traffic, right? Not always. Certain types of flat roofs are also susceptible to damage from foot traffic, but it’s also true that there are some which are considerably more durable.
We still advise staying off your roof as much as possible, however EPDM, rubber, and other types of commercial roofing are designed to withstand light amounts of foot traffic without issue. This means cleaning and maintenance are not an issue. If you do need to walk on your flat roof, avoid studded or solid-soled boots. Likewise, avoid placing too much pressure on any one spot. Keep weight spread out as much as possible to avoid any serious indentations.
If you need your roof repaired after damage from foot traffic, trust the Phoenix roofing professionals from Lyons Roofing to get the job done right! Call us todayat (520) 447-2522 to request a quote or schedule your service.